by Dane McGuire
UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens does indeed have a new promotional home following speculation he would sign with the PFL after his time with the UFC ended.
Stephens spent almost 15 years and 34 fights under the UFC banner. ‘Lil Heathen’ opened up about his recent signing and his UFC exit on MMAFighting’s The MMA Hour.
He explained he asked the UFC for a favorable matchup after facing a ‘murderer’s row’ of opponents and that he needed to fight more frequently to provide for his family.
“I got options to go other places once that contract was up. I didn’t even realize I was up on the contract. Probably almost five months went by on the contract, and I didn’t realize my contract was up. I thought I had one more fight on there, and I searched my options and PFL, we’re gonna go do our best to knock everybody the f*ck out and get a million dollars.”
Stephens signed with the PFL due to fresh match-ups and being able to step in the cage more often. He said on the MMA Hour that he had previously been fighting just once a year.
“(The PFL is) a great organization, the fighters over there, the matchups, the potential,” Stephens said of the PFL. “They’re gonna pay me a little bit more than the UFC, and I have a chance at a million dollars, which is doable, which I really love.
Maybe go in there, win that million dollars, and I like the fact that they fight back to back, month after month. I’m not getting any younger. I love to constantly be fighting. I don’t like sitting and waiting for opponents six months down the road. I’d rather fight once every three months,” Stephens said.
Stephens also said he will be fighting in the PFL’s upcoming lightweight tournament but that he may fight in other divisions as he had done in the UFC.
“If I can keep doing that, win the million dollars, if they happen to do a [featherweight tournament in] the next one … I’ll drop down and steal the million dollars from the 45ers too,” Stephens said. “F*ck, I’ll even go up to [welterweight]. There’s opportunity out there, and there’s fights, there’s matchups.”
As previously reported, the PFL has continued its broadcast partnership with ESPN through 2023 with an option to extend.
Most of the 2022 PFL regular season and all of the playoffs will air live on ESPN, simulcast on ESPN+ and additional coverage will be on ESPN2.
The 2022 PFL regular season begins April 20.